Michael E Michael

Aaron Meyers recently made a game called Michael E Michael and it features the late Michael Jackson battling against himself in an isometric, eight-direction fighting game. Siliconera picked up the news after the game recently went live over on the indie game distribution service itch.io. The game was designed as part of a challenge to not only include doppelgangers in the game, but also tread dangerously close to infringement territory.

The rules of the challenge were quite simple, reading…

The game must tread dangerously into the intellectual property of an existing game or game franchise, but be cleverly altered and culturally mangled enough to not be worth the effort to sue.

In this case the game Michael E Michael is pretty damn close to the official Michael Jackson game for the Sega Genesis called Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”. Like a lot of games back then it sucked pretty badly, but the music was great!

In this case the game is very similar to old SNK classics like King of Monsters, where both players will battle it out using eight directions and a handful of moves to beat their opponent into a pulp. You can see it in action with a video from YouTuber Alpha Beta Gamer.

It’s a strange but functional game, as players will be able to utilize Michael’s signature kick to knock down the other Michael, or throw a punch, or charge up and shoot out various specials, including unleashing an army of miniature Michael Jacksons against their opponent.

The game really does walk straight up to the line of copyright infringement, spits over the line but doesn’t bother to take that final step across. Since the game is called Michael E Michael and doesn’t actually mention “Jackson” next to the name it’s technically not Michael Jackson. And the fact that it’s a fighting game and not a music game removes any semblance to the character pulling off dance moves as opposed to just fighting and defending himself. The only thing that really could be construed as copyright territory is the 16-bit remix of “Smooth Criminal”. Then again, it could be construed as a cover and not actual copyright infringement.

Either way, the project really does come close to that barrier without actually breaching it.

Meyers should actually consider making a full fledged fighting game out this. The groundwork is already there and it just needs a few more cast of characters… maybe a 1980s Bobby Brown, an early 1990s M.C. Hammer and Paula Abdul… heck he could throw in The New Kids on The Block, Prince, Milli Vanilli, Salt ‘n Pepper, Vanilla Ice or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch to round out the roster while he’s at it.

If you’re keen on playing Michael E Michael feel free to grab a digital copy from itch.io.

Cortana is Coming to Xbox One

Interacting with your Xbox One will be changing in the coming year, starting with the introduction of the new “Xbox One Experience” and continuing sometime in 2016 with the inclusion of your own virtual assistant, Cortana!

Not only are more folks receiving invites to check out the beta for the new Xbox One firmware, but Microsoft is gearing up to introduce the Xbox Beta App for Windows 10, too. As for the highly anticipated Cortana implementation, though, the latest announcement has it pegged as arriving sometime next year.

Cortana (named for the AI in the Halo series), is the virtual assistant that comes with Windows 10.  She’ll remind you to pick up things from the grocery store or warn you of traffic delays if you’ve got her downloaded on your phone, or just help you interact with and stay connected with friends on your Xbox One. Want to play Fallout but fear you might forget about that Raid you’ve got scheduled in Destiny in an hour? Get to enjoying yourself and Cortana will remind you in plenty of time. As for that new Xbox One Experience, Cortana will help you navigate, the Major Nelson blog claims it’s going to be worth the wait.

“As we’ve been doing for almost two years, we’re sharing early builds with our fans, so that they can try out and provide input on new features. We welcomed a limited group of preview members into an early peek at the reimagined Xbox One a few weeks ago. This weekend, we’ll be inviting in more.” – Major Nelson Blog

As for that Xbox Beta app for Windows 10, a bunch of new functionality got plugged in over the weekend, too. Party text chat joins the already implemented voice chat to give players yet anther way to communicate when they’re away from their console. You can also read and reply to messages directly from notifications now, and receive activity alerts. Also, now you have access to a menu that shows off your latest sharable content including Achievements and recorded clips, making it easier than ever to send them out to social media.

I am ridiculously excited for this. I have Cortana on my laptop and she’s fuckin’ awesome! This is a great move coming from Microsoft and Xbox. I honestly thought the Xbox One was great as it is, but it’s just going to get a whole lot better come next year!